Looking at stars at night

I don’t have the above ambition but I’ve been staying at a place where there’s little light pollution so I can see the night sky without having artificial lights in my vision directly or indirectly.
I can see the stars with uncorrected vision, I can even recognise the basic constellations like the 2 Bears (Ursa major and minor).

But there is a strange thing:
If I turn my head directly at the constellation, the stars fade to matt dots or disappear. When I look slightly next to them they become shiny. It’s not a one off, tested on several different days.

Anyone with a similar experience? or with any experience with star gazing without corrections?


That’s due to two things:

The fact your peripheral vision is more sensitive, and the fact the stars aren’t yet points (and thus their light is spread out making them dimmer). Thus the not-quite-pinpoint stars fade a bit when looking directly at them.

If you still have a pair of -0.5 diopter glasses, try using them outside at night in the dark. You’ll see how stars can look and understand why I want to see them like that naked eye :slight_smile:

Congrats btw on reaching this point! Thats awesome that you can see stars naked eye now!


Always learning, thanks.

To be honest I never noticed this difference with the contacts on - I had always been overcorrected at my own choice. And yes, when I wear -0.5D now, I can see the stars as I used to. Without glasses I can see them in the periphery as I used to, but still have to work on “direct star gazing”. I mean I don’t have to, but definitely it would be a nice to have and a next milestone achievement. :blush:

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At present I can get about one blurry star without correction, I stop by the window every night after removing my correction on the way to bed. So I have a long way to go before I can tell if this is the case for me… I do still low-key work on the moon on clear nights though, usually end up with 4 or 5 of them, but ever once in a while I get a fusion.

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It seems that seeing stars uncorrected is a skill that can be learnt with time and practice.